QA The Weather Effect

By Frank ThomasAugust 8, 2006, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: This is the latest in a weekly Q&A feature from The Golf Channel's Chief Technical Advisor Frank Thomas. To submit a question for possible use in this column, email
I asked this question a while back and have lost the article. Have looked at your website, which is very informative, but find nothing mentioned about weather.

The question is: Does humidity have any effect on whether a ball flies shorter or further? I know temperature has an effect, and wind of course.
Thank you
Noel Heacock

Humidity has the effect of reducing the air density and as a result this will reduce the drag on the ball allowing it to go through the air mass with less resistance but at the same time the ball will experience a lower lift force because of the lower air density so it is almost a wash. Bottom line is that the ball will have a lower trajectory and for a drive it will not travel as far on a humid day as it would on a day with air which is drier and more dense. This effect is very small, however, when compared the effect of air temperature. You can figure about 2+ yards per 10 degrees F difference in temperature. The colder temperatures with relatively dense air, increase the drag resistance significantly. When it comes to wind, you should know that a head wind of about 10 mph will reduce the driving distance by about 13 yards whereas a tail wind of the same speed will only help increase your distance by about 9 yards.
Dont worry about humidity but wind and temperature are very important and need to be compensated for appropriately.
Hope this helps solve your weather or not problem.
Mr. Thomas,
Could you please explain what is meant by kick in the shaft? Some have low, mid, or high. How do you know which is right for you?
Thank you, Lurisa Waldron

Shafts are designed to bend more at the tip end (the smaller diameter end that goes into the head) than the butt (grip) end. This has been found to be the most effective bending profile for most effective transfer of energy from the golfer to the club head.
A certain bend pattern has been developed over the years and this is relatively standard. This pattern can vary by making the shaft more or less flexible at the lower section of the shaft. When a shaft is compressed from both ends it will bend. The point which is farthest away from a straight line between the two ends is defined as the bend point or kick point. The distance this point is from the tip end of the shaft can vary up and down the shaft. The total range of this kick point is only about five inches but does have a significant effect on ball flight. A lower kick point is inclined to allow the shaft to bend forward from a lower section allowing the head to present a higher loft to the ball creating a higher launch angle and a little more spin. The higher kick point will reduce the effective loft angle and result in a lower launch angle and lower ball flight.
I do not recommend that most golfers try to alter their ball flight by changing the kick point in the shaft but rather by changing the loft or even the swing. Trying to affect launch angle, by using kick point is a tweak and something one can do when you have tried the most obvious other remedies.
Try to work with a standard flex pattern before you kick yourself.
How does a person line up the pitching wedge when you are only two feet away from the green? Please help I am a new golfer and needed some advice.
Teresa Morales

Alignment is always a problem with almost every club. I have designed a putter, which you can find on my website, which has engraved lines on the top of the head, both in line with the intended putting line as well as at right angles to this line. Unfortunately wedges dont have the area on top to accommodate such lines. Neither do most irons. So the next best thing to do is to line up the leading edge (where the sole meets the face) of the iron at ninety degrees to the intended flight line. In the case of some modern irons and certainly some wedges this leading edge is not a straight line so this makes things difficult. Fortunately for us most manufacturers have lined up the straight grooves at right angles to the flight path (assuming a square impact). So take advantage of this and when addressing the ball make sure that the grooves on the face are at right angles to the intended flight of the ball.
This should help get the correct alignment. The next thing to do is to reproduce this position when impact is made. Hope this helps.
Hi Frank,
Thanks for the great info on your site about the best wedges BUT can you tell us what MODELS within the brand were used?
Thanks Rob

Thanks for the kind comments. Our mission is to help golfers and you will find all sorts of helpful information on the site as you already have. Please understand that in our effort to provide as much reliable information as possible we need to survey our Frankly Friends. I believe that in excess of 1,100 avid golfers answered the questions asking them to rate their wedges. In trying to get this information to you in a timely manner we were not able to ask for the details which include each model but rather just the wedge type.
For example I carry two Titleist Vokey wedges a 52 and a 56. The 56 is a model SM5614, which means it has a loft of 56 degrees, has a Spin Milled (SM) face and a bounce of 14 degrees. My 52 is a 25208. This is not a spin milled face but does have 8 degrees of bounce. The number of wedges in the market place is very large and this multiplied by the number of models of each type is tremendous.
This was a tough one but I am sure you will have no problem with Frankly the Best Drivers or the Balls. Thanks again and stay in touch.hope we can help you and others coming to the site.
Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf, a company dedicated to Helping Golfers. Frank is Chief Technical Advisor to The Golf Channel and Golf Digest. He served as Technical Director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN System and introduced the Stimpmeter to the world of golf. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email
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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry